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Emiratis in Khalifa City A want more roads and footpaths

ABU DHABI // Emiratis living in Khalifa City A want more footpaths, a better road network and more after-school activities for their children.

A suburban area of mostly villas, the neighbourhoods do not have parking or traffic congestion problems. But some residents say the lack of paths makes it dangerous to walk.

“We do not have any parking shortages here compared with the city,” said Mohammed Al Zaabi, 25, who works for the army and moved to the suburb five years ago. “I think we need more walkways to keep pedestrians safe.

“It’s a great place to live and ideal for families. We have almost everything that we need here – schools, clinics and hospitals, supermarkets and parks.”

Ahead of the FNC election day on October 3, The National’s reporters are travelling across the seven emirates to speak to Emiratis and find out the issues that affect them – and what they expect from members of a new Federal National Council. Read them here.

But Shamma Al Hameli, an Abu Dhabi candidate for the Federal National Council who also lives in Khalifa City, said walkways and cycle paths had been built.

“If you go anywhere else in Abu Dhabi, you can’t see anything like this,” she said.

The construction of walkways and cycle tracks in Khalifa City, Shakhbout City and Mohammed bin Zayed City, each stretching between 7 and 18 kilometres, is under way.

Khalifa City, on the Abu Dhabi mainland, is a cheaper alternative to the city centre and has attracted teachers from the many schools in the area.

The decision by the Government in 2013 to remove a rent cap in Abu Dhabi, coupled with a decree requiring all government employees to live in the emirate to qualify for housing allowance, has increased the area’s popularity.

Eman Al Amry, 35, an Emirati businesswoman who moved to Khalifa City with her family eight years ago, said she wanted more activities for the older of her six children, who are aged between 1 and 13.

Her children attend the American International School of Abu Dhabi, and used to be allowed to enter a private school in Khalifa City for tennis, swimming and gymnastics lessons after school.

“But we’ve been told of a policy that these activities are open only to students who go to that school,” Mrs Al Amry said. “We need some support. Maybe they can open government schools and run after-school activities for Emirati children?”

Ms Al Hameli, whose campaign focuses on family issues, especially the welfare of preschool children, the mother’s role and tackling the divorce rate, said: “That’s a great idea. We might focus on that and also encourage Emirati youth to join clubs here and outside the country.”

If elected, she hopes to initiate a programme that would allow teenagers to take on part-time work in the Government or in the private sector.

“The aim is for them to invest their time in the best way, and instil the value of work in their lives,” Ms Al Hameli said.

Mrs Al Amry also raised the issue of the road network, calling for improvements such as an alternative entrance into Khalifa City from the Adnoc petrol station, and a road link or bridge for easier access into Al Shamkha.

Ms Al Hameli said such projects were the municipality’s responsibility, but that improvements have been carried out.

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(via The National)